Binge-watching is the most common pastime nowadays. With the rise in popularity of Netflix and Amazon Prime, TV Shows and films are instantaneously accessible to everyone. Now, I have binge-watched in the past and it’s a great way to unwind. However, there are also some downsides to this binge-watching culture we’ve developed. Here is a summary of some of the pros and cons of binge-watching.
A Fully Immersive Experience
The best thing about binge-watching is the fact that you can throw yourself into the show without having to agonise over the long wait between episodes. It makes it easier to really get sucked into the show without worrying about the confusion between characters or remembering plot points that turned up at the beginning but end up being resolved at the end when you’ve forgotten all about it. Binge-watching gives you the chance to dive head first into a show and just escape. You can forget about all the stresses and worries of life and fully immerse yourself into the show.
No Room for Cliffhangers
You either love, hate, or love to hate cliffhangers. I tend to lean towards the love to hate category, but there are some cliffhangers that are pure evil, especially when you have to wait weeks or even months for it to be resolved. In those waiting periods a lot can happen that could also affect the lasting impact of the cliffhanger. Some shows do a phenomenal job at carrying the suspense over until the next episode or season, but others don’t, and in this day and age, it becomes increasingly more difficult to keep spoilers a secret. When these spoilers leak, you’re basically given the answers you seek before the episode airs, fundamentally taking out that sense of anticipation that came with not knowing. By binge-watching, you basically guarantee that you’ll find the resolution to those cliffhangers as soon as possible and avoid those spoilers.
Let’s be real, binge-watching is the most time-consuming activity. As much as I would love to spend the week binge-watching, life has other plans. On my days off I’m so busy trying to catch up with everything else that needs doing that I can’t even begin to justify using the entire day to binge-watch the show. If I did that I feel like I would have just wasted the day away. I would rather be proactive and get the jobs that need to be done out of the way so I can then enjoy and watch a couple of episodes as a reward.
A clash with mood-watching
A lot of the time trying to gauge what you want to watch is the hardest challenge, especially when your mood often dictates the final choice. Therefore, if you binge-watch and find yourself in the mood to watch something else, do you stop watching immediately, or do you push through until the end? Personally, I have been known to just stop watching, it’s partly the reason I have so many shows that are incomplete because if I’m not in the mood to watch it, then forcing myself to continue on with the show takes the fun out of it. Having that break in between episodes means that you have the chance to follow the other TV shows or films you want to watch.
Losing the sense of anticipation
To me, this is the biggest con of binge-watching because it takes away all sense of anticipation. If you follow a show on a weekly basis, that break between episodes is a great way to embrace the anticipation and heighten that excitement to find out what happens next. It also gives you a chance to really process what happened in the previous episodes instead of just throwing yourself into the next one. Waiting between episodes gives you a chance to take everything in and really appreciate the intricacy of the show. Also, I find that having to wait helps build that sense of community between viewers. Live tweeting is a great way to generate conversation while you watch the show, but then you have that waiting period where fans can further communicate with each other through discussion and setting predictions of things to come. That community interaction is a great way to heighten your excitement for a show.
Is there a Middle Ground?
Personally, I am not someone that can binge-watch an entire show in the space of a week. I like to pace myself and take my time. My binge-watching routine is tamer than the stay up all night to finish philosophy. Instead, I tend to watch one or two episodes a day. That way I can still finish other tasks that need doing and I get to prolong the experience without worrying about the major gap between seasons. I tend to watch box sets and the worst feeling is when you finish it too quickly. Therefore, I do tend to find that middle ground in binge-watching so I can enjoy aspects from the intense binge-watching and the weekly waiting experience.
Do you enjoy binge-watching?
What was the last show you binge-watched?